CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4)– A husband and wife in Castle Rock were cited for luring bears by feeding them. The couple was cited after Colorado Parks and Wildlife had received multiple complaints about residents feeding bears.

CPW said the behavior had been going on for more than a year. Officers say that attracting bears to your property with food can cause more wild animals to congregate in that area which can lead to an increase in human-wildlife conflict.

Black bear being fed in Douglas County (credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

“It is selfish and unethical to feed bears,” said Area Wildlife Manager Matt Martinez in a statement. “You are going to end up unintentionally killing those animals and also putting yourself in harm’s way. If what you want is a pet or just to connect with an animal, choose a domestic breed that has evolved to live with people.”

Bears that are habituated towards people can try to get into trash, break into garages and even try to get into homes looking for their next meal.

Feeding bears is a reoccurring problem in both Castle Rock and Larkspur where Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers have received multiple complaints.

“I find that there are some misconceptions that feeding bears will lead to fewer conflicts with animals,” District Wildlife Manager Sean Dodd said in a statement. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Feeding bears only attracts more bears, which leads to more conflict in a given area. In the end, feeding bears is selfish and ultimately ends up leading to the bear’s death.”

Fines for feeding bears can range from $200 to $2,000 as well as surcharges.

Jennifer McRae